Filip Forsberg lost 15 games of the 2018 season to an interesting suspension and an upper-body injury. In the 67 games he played, Fil’s 26 goals and 38 assists were good for a team-high 64 points. The 38 assists are a single-season best for Forsberg, and 64 points matches his 2015-16 season for the highest point total.
Outside of a few attempts to kickstart certain players or ease others back in from injury, Forsberg spent his time playing with the Smashville favorite JoFA line. Although his defense isn’t the best on the roster, Fil more than makes up for it with his offensive prowess.
For example, here is the Preds’ unblocked shot rates for with Forsberg on the ice.
Not only is a majority of the offensive zone covered in red, but also the darkest red spots are in some of the more high danger shot areas. On the other hand, here’s the shot rate when Forsberg was off the ice.
A lot less dark red, and a lot of blue in high danger areas.
The offense that Forsberg brings to the table is unmatched by most anyone on the roster. Which is exactly why Fil has an extensive list of best moments from the season, many of which involve the rest of the JoFA line as well.
This was a fantastic season for Fil, and there were countless moments worthy of being the “best moment.”
There is his 100th NHL goal, which bounced off of the leg of Brooks Orpik and slid past Braden Holtby. The goal came after he already had a shot saved and stole the puck on the forecheck from John Carlson...
...and the almost lacrosse goal on March 29th against the Sharks, which would have torn the roof off of Bridgestone Arena...
...and his 5th career hat trick, scoring an empty netter against the Blue Jackets...
..his undressing of former Predator Sam Girard...
...and Sammy G’s replacement, Duncan Siemens...
...his new-stick goal...
...and last, but certainly not least, his between the legs goal on Hellebuyck.
This has been a fantastic season for Prince Filip, and that makes it hard to pick a worst moment. Rather than nitpick one of his games, I’ll point to a moment that irked Preds fans and players alike.
The Filip Forsberg Butt-check is a patented NHL move. Okay, maybe not patented, but it should be. In a moment that could also fit in the “Best Moment” category, Fil unleashed the butt-check on a player known affectionately around Smashville as “The Rat”—and I don’t mean Brad Marchand.
Forsberg’s check, which I still believe was a good hockey check, caused Vesey to leave the game momentarily. Despite being a first time “dirty hit” offender, Forsberg got a 3-game suspension for this hit.
Oh and there’s also the moment he doomed the Preds by taking on one of the worst hexes in sports, the Bieber Curse.
Overall Grade: A+
Fil is this season’s MVP of the Nashville Predators. The 23 year old proved to the rest of the NHL that he is a force to be reckoned with.
He surpassed 100 goals and 200 points in his 4th full season, and there is little doubt in my mind that he will surpass all of David Legwand’s franchise records, and probably some of Shea’s as well, before his time in Nashville comes to a close. In fact, Jordin Tootoo’s 725 PIM might be the only skater record of the Predators’ franchise that Fil does not own or come close to at the end of his career.
Despite not being perfect, Forsberg was the Preds’ best skater night in and night out, and he might have even been the best player on the roster, and that’s why he deserves the elusive A+.
In the words of that overplayed Ford commercial, “[Fil] doesn’t just raise the bar, [he] is the bar.”